Alone in his huge, Antebellum house built in 1853 in Holly Springs, Miss., Paul MacLeod is living his vision of the American dream. He’s a 67-year-old former assembly-line worker, and it shows—his face slumps like a wet towel. He subsists on two cases of Coca-Cola a day. His wife, Serita, left him years ago, and he hasn’t seen her since. His son, too, left long ago . But MacLeod doesn’t mind living alone: He’s got Elvis Presley.
For 20 years, MacLeod has operated his own live-in Elvis museum called Graceland Too. Every corner, wall and inch of ceiling in his two-story mansion is covered with Elvis memorabilia, from The King’s high school report card (he failed music) to plush tigers (in honor of Elvis’ martial-arts name) and thousands of posters, clippings and photographs. MacLeod keeps Graceland Too open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. If he’s slipped into a light sleep at 4 a.m., knock loud enough and he’ll give you a tour. Only five bucks.
Graceland Too isn’t really about Elvis Presley. It’s about creating another world, one in which Paul MacLeod is king, slap-happy and in love with his favorite rock star, blissfully unaware of the faster, meaner, grimier world beyond his property. “I’m prepared to die right now if I could bring that guy back,” he tells me with a voice that sounds like he’s gargling maple syrup. While outisders—368,000 people since 1990, by his count—stop by and see him as an oddity, an old man gone batty, MacLeod says he’s “doin’ just what makes me happy.”